As Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said a few times over the past couple weeks, NFL mock drafts have no basis in reality. Holmes tried to say it as nicely as possible—since he was talking to a bunch of media members who have created mock drafts—but you know what he really meant by the quote below: your mock drafts are dumb and have no bearing on our process of evaluating talent.
“It’s no disrespect to the mock drafts. It’s no disrespect to the guys that everyone had in their mock drafts and stuff,” Holmes said. “Frankly, we don’t care. We feel really confident about the work that we put in and what those guys are going to do on the field.”
There is no mock draft more worthless than one done a year in advance. Our perception of the 2024 NFL Draft class right now will be proven to be laughable by this time next year. Don’t believe me? Just look at the results from last year’s 2023 NFL mock draft roundup. While, yes, most figured out that Alabama QB Bryce Young would be at the top of the draft class, the Lions also netted Alabama DT Byron Young (actually taken in the third round), Jordan Battle (third round pick), and Jaquelin Roy (fifth round).
The results from the previous year were even more hilarious, with USC QB Kedon Slovis and Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler being popular choices for Detroit.
That said, 2024 NFL mock drafts can be used to at least put some of next year’s draft class on your radar. Who knows if any of these guys will actually be taken in the first round next year, but at least these are some names to keep an eye on for the next college football season.
Without further ado, here are the results from a few 2024 NFL mock drafts across the blogosphere.
Note: Isn’t it awesome to see the Lions picking in the mid 20s? It’s worth noting that most of the draft orders reflect current 2024 Super Bowl odds.
25. DT Michael Hall Jr., Ohio State
Injuries were an issue for him last season, but when on the field, he lived in the backfield. I’m expecting Hall’s speed-and-quickness testing numbers to be outstanding during the draft process.
24. DT Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
With their 2022 class, Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell once again drilled home how much they value toughness. The 6-2, 295-pound Newton proved to have plenty in his breakout redshirt sophomore season, recording 14 tackles for loss while looking every bit like the formidable three-technique Detroit’s defense is missing.
25. DT Maason Smith, LSU
Smith played all of eight snaps last season before tearing his ACL. At 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, he played mostly along the edge for LSU in his freshman year, showing how incredible of an athlete he is. In 2021, he had four sacks on 198 pass-rushing snaps.
21. EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington
The Lions already boast one of the NFL’s better young edge rushers in Aidan Hutchinson, of course, but for a club that finished 31st in the league with just 31 sacks over 17 games, more juice is needed. Trice is cut from a similar cloth as former Husky Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, an ascending talent drafted in the first round two years ago by Tampa Bay.
25. S Andrew Mukuba, Clemson
The Lions signed C.J. Gardner-Johnson for only one season and rookie Brian Branch will need help in 2024. Mukuba will fill the bill as an absolute playmaker, either working in coverage downfield or in run support upfield.
25. EDGE Bralen Trice, Washington
Bralen Trice was one of the nation’s most prolific sack-getters in 2022, and he offers one of the most appealing power profiles in the 2023 NFL Draft EDGE class. He’s 6’4″, 260 pounds, with tremendous straight-line explosion and heavy hands. And for a team that may lose Romeo Okwara and Charles Harris in 2024 free agency, he’d be a welcome addition.
23. S Andrew Mukuba, Clemson
18. CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama
It’s pretty interesting—but not all that surprising that every pick was on defense. This runs completely counter to previous years’ way-too-early mocks, which have regularly slotted the Lions with a quarterback. Obviously, the Lions’ offense has since exploded, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll suffer significant regression.
As for the actual players themselves, defensive tackle seems to be an area of focus. At this point in time, that seems like a logical target since Detroit didn’t upgrade that room until they selected Brodric Martin in the third round. Perhaps most interesting of the prospects is Illinois Jer’Zhan Newton—who has already been a two-year starter for Illinois, and is coming off an impressive season with 5.5 sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss.
Jer’Zhan Newton: 59 QB pressures last season— PFF College (@PFF_College) February 14, 2023
Led all Power Five DTs pic.twitter.com/ryBridDlif
Two mock drafters paired the Lions with Clemson safety Andrew Mukuba. While that doesn’t seem like a particularly strong need for the Lions, who knows where the Lions will be with a player like Tracy Walker by the end of next season. Mukuba is also a two-year starter for Clemson, being the first Tiger defensive back in program history to start the season opener as a true freshman.